HP Neverstop Laser MFP 1202nw review: Refillable laser printer offers lower TCO for SMBs and home workers

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  • Editors' rating
    8.0 Excellent

Pros

  • Big savings on cost of replacement toner
  • Good print speed and quality
  • Quick and easy toner 'reload' process

Cons

  • Mono printing only
  • Additional cost of replacement imaging drum
  • Manual duplex printing
  • No ADF for the scanner

HP has been rather slow getting in on the act with refillable 'tank' printers in the past, with its Smart Tank range of inkjet printers taking almost a year to reach the UK and US following a somewhat low-key launch in Asia and Pacific regions. 

But the company has taken a real step forward with its recently-announced Neverstop Laser range -- the first refillable laser printers that we've seen. Just as a refillable inkjet printer abandons conventional ink cartridges, so HP's Neverstop lasers replace traditional toner cartridges with a large internal tank instead. This tank can hold enough toner to print thousands of pages at a time, delivering far lower running costs than conventional cartridge-based laser printers.

Pricing & options

There are several models in the Neverstop range, and during the launch presentation -- in the bygone days of mid-March -- they were initially targeted at small business users. However, the printers didn't go on sale until April and HP has nimbly embraced the opportunity to pitch the Neverstop range as a cost-effective printing solution for people who are working from home as well.

There are three Neverstop models listed on HP's website in the UK, starting at £191.67 (ex. VAT; £229.99 inc. VAT) for the 1001nw, which is a single-function mono laser printer with USB, Ethernet and wi-fi connectivity. The mid-range 1201n model adds a 600dpi scanner/copier, but only includes USB and Ethernet interfaces, and costs £208.33 (ex. VAT; £250 inc. VAT). We tested the top-of-the-range Neverstop 1202nw, which adds wi-fi as well and costs £216.66 (ex. VAT; £259.99 inc. VAT)

There's a more limited range in the US. The single-function 1001nw costs $230, but there's only a single multifunction model, the Neverstop 1202w, which costs $330 with a scanner/copier, USB and wi-fi but no Ethernet.

There are less expensive laser printers available for home users and small offices, including HP's own LaserJet Pro range. However, the price of the Neverstop laser printers also includes enough toner to last for around 5,000 pages, which is far more than the toner normally included with conventional laser printers.

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The top-of-the-range Neverstop Laser MFP 1202nw offers 600dpi printing and scanning, with USB, Ethernet and wi-fi connectivity.

Image: HP Inc

Design & features

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Inkjet printers that use refillable tanks tend to be rather big and bulky, as the tanks are often simply bolted onto the side of the printer. However, HP's Neverstop printers look much more like conventional lasers. All models share the same basic design, measuring 380mm wide and 294mm deep. The single-function models stand just 211mm high, while the scanner unit that sits atop the multifunction models increases the height to 287mm. They're all very compact, though, and should sit comfortably on a desk or nearby shelf without taking up too much space if you're working from home.

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HP's Smart App provides remote printing and scanning for mobile devices.

Image: HP Inc / Sean Dagen Photography

The single input tray holds 150 sheets of A4 paper, which should be adequate for most small offices or home use, and the Neverstop has a recommended monthly maximum output of 2,500 pages. It's not the most versatile of printers, though. It can print on envelopes and heavier types of paper, but there's no manual feed for envelopes, so you'll have to empty the main tray whenever you want to print on different media. The printer doesn't provide auto-duplex (two-sided printing) either, although HP's driver software does support manual duplex for occasional use. Nor is there an automatic document feeder (ADF) for sending multi-page documents to the scanner.

The HP Smart App provides remote printing and scanning for mobile devices, and the printers also support Apple's AirPrint for iOS devices, and Google Cloud Print.

Print performance

The Neverstop printers provide 600x600dpi resolution for black-and-white printing, although HP claims that its 'FastRes 1200' enhancement technology effectively doubles that resolution. The result, with our text documents, is very good text quality, with smooth, well-defined characters that will be well suited for high-quality business documents.

All of the Neverstop printers share the same quoted speed of 22 pages per minute, although the 1202nw that we tested wasn't quite that fast, producing 20ppm for a variety of text documents, as well as mixed documents containing both text and graphics. Graphics output is good too, with smoothly graduated greyscale shading on our test documents, and the Neverstop can handle simple graphs and charts with no problem at all.

Ordinarily, this is the point where we'd warn business users to consider the cost of replacement toner cartridges, but, of course, the Neverstop printers no longer use cartridges, so we need to look a little more closely at the running costs of these first-ever refillable laser printers.

Running costs

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Syringe-like Reload Kits deliver 2,500 pages-worth of toner in a convenient, mess-free manner.

Image: HP Inc

As mentioned, the price of the Neverstop printer includes enough toner to last for around 5,000 pages, so if your printing requirements are fairly light then it might well be a couple of years before you need to buy any additional toner at all. When you do run out of toner you'll need to purchase one of HP's Reload Kits, which look rather like a giant syringe that simply allows you to inject new toner straight into a nozzle on the front of the printer.

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And, as promised, the reload kits are a lot less expensive than conventional toner cartridges. A single kit costs £12.50 (ex. VAT; £15 inc. VAT, or $16), and lasts for 2,500 pages, which comes to approximately 0.6p/0.6c per page. You can also buy a twin-pack for £22.60 (ex. VAT; £27 inc.VAT, or $28), although that only reduces running costs slightly, to around 0.55p/0.55c. Even so, those costs are much lower than most conventional inkjet or laser printers, and HP's claim to "save up to 80%" does seem to be justified. 

There's one bit of small print that you need to look out for, though. Most laser printers will occasionally require a replacement imaging drum -- the component that applies toner particles to the paper. In this case, it turns out that the Neverstop printers do actually stop after all -- after around 20,000 pages -- and will then require a replacement drum. A new imaging drum costs £55.42 (ex. VAT; £66.50 inc. VAT, or $71), but does earn its keep by also including additional toner that should last for a further 5,000 pages.

It's worth pointing out that we've seen inkjet printers with refillable tanks, such as Epson's mono-only ET-M2140, that are aimed at office users and offer even lower running costs. However, the initial purchase price of the ET-M2140 is higher than that of HP's Neverstop printers, and many business users will prefer the crisp text output of a laser printer for their business documents.

Conclusions

HP's lack of enthusiasm for 'tank' printing in recent years has been disappointing, but the introduction of the Neverstop laser range is a genuine innovation that could provide real savings for business users working from home or in small offices. There's room for improvement, as the Neverstop lasers aren't the most fully-featured printers available for office users. However, many people who now find themselves working from home will welcome a fast and cost-effective printing solution such as this.

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Specifications

General
Printing Technology Laser - monochrome
Localization English, German, French, Italian, Spanish / Europe
Monthly Duty Cycle (max) 20000 pages
Office Machine Features Mopria certified, HP Auto-On/Auto-Off Technology
Display Features LCD display
Recommended Monthly Volume 250 - 2500 pages
Connectivity
Wireless Ready Yes
Mobile Printing Capability Apple AirPrint, Google Cloud Print, Mopria Print Service, wireless direct printing
Memory
Standard Memory 64 MB
Max Supported Memory 64 MB
Printer
AirPrint Enabled Yes
First Print Out Time B/W 8.5 sec
Power
Power Consumption Sleep 0.95 Watt
Power Consumption Standby 3.3 Watt
Power Consumption Operational 338 Watt
Display
Features LCD display
Miscellaneous
Consumables Included 1 x drum (black) ISO/IEC 19752
Color Category black, white
Copying
Max Copying Speed Up to 14 ppm
Max Copying Resolution Up to 600 x 600 dpi
Max Copying Speed B/W 14 ppm
Max Copying Resolution B/W 600 x 600 dpi
Warm-Up Time 16 sec
First Copy Out Time B/W 11.6 sec
Max Document Enlargement 400 %
Max Document Reduction 25 %
Automatic Duplexing none
Maximum Copies 99
Copying Features ID Copy
RAM
Installed Size 64 MB
Max Supported Size 64 MB
Environmental Standards
Blue Angel Compliant Yes
ENERGY STAR Certified Yes
Printing
Max Printing Resolution Up to 600 x 600 dpi
Max Printing Speed Up to 20 ppm
Max Resolution B/W 600 x 600 dpi
Printer Drivers / Emulations PCLms, PWG, URF
Image Enhancement Technology HP FastRes 1200
Max Printing Speed B/W (ppm) 20 ppm
Connections
Security Protocols & Features Apple Bonjour, IPv6 support, SNMP 3
Operating System Support UNIX, MS Windows XP SP3, MS Windows Vista, Ubuntu Linux 10.04, Ubuntu Linux 11.10, Ubuntu Linux 12.04, Apple Mac OS X 10.8, Fedora 17, Android, iOS, Fedora 18, openSUSE 12.2, openSUSE 12.3, Ubuntu Linux 12.10, Linux Mint 13, Linux Mint 14, Apple Mac OS X 10.9, Windows RT 8.1, Fedora 19, MS Windows 7 (32/64 bits), Ubuntu Linux 13.04, Linux Mint 15, Windows RT 8, Apple Mac OS X 10.10, Windows 8 (32/64-bits), Windows 8.1 (32/64-bits), openSUSE 13.1 (32/64-bit), Ubuntu Linux 13.10, Windows 10 (32/64-bits), Boss 3.0, Boss 5.0, Ubuntu Linux 14.10, Debian Linux 7.x, Fedora 20, Linux Mint 16, Linux Mint 17, Ubuntu Linux 14.04, Debian Linux 6.0.x
Software Included HP Device Experience (DXP), HP Connected, HP Device Toolbox, HP Printer Assistant, HP Scan Application, HP Software Installer/Uninstaller
Environmental Parameters
Sound Emission 26 dBA (idle) / 51 dBA (operating)
Sound Emission (Idle) 26 dBA
Sound Emission (Operating) 51 dBA
Min Operating Temperature 59 °F
Max Operating Temperature 90.5 °F
Humidity Range Operating 10 - 80%
Document & Media Handling
Max Media Size Legal
Document & Media Handling Details Input tray - 150 sheets size: 4.13 in x 5.85 in - A4 (8.25 in x 11.7 in) weight: 60 g/m² - 120 g/m²
Output tray - 100 sheets - A4 (8.25 in x 11.7 in) weight: 60 g/m² - 120 g/m²
Speed Details Printing: up to 20 ppm (A4) - B/W
Copying: up to 14 ppm (A4) - B/W
Min Original Size 4.13 in x 5.85 in
Max Original Size 8.5 in x 14 in
Original Type sheets
Media Type Class envelopes, film / transparencies, other, plain paper
Media Size Class Legal
Min Media Size 4.13 in x 5.85 in
Min Media Weight 60 g/m²
Max Media Weight 120 g/m²
Min Media Weight (lb) 14 lbs
Supported Media Type cards, envelopes, labels, plain paper, transparencies
Supported Media Sizes 4.13 in x 5.85 in, 8.5 in x 13.38 in, A4 (8.25 in x 11.7 in), A5 (5.83 in x 8.25 in), A6 (4.13 in x 5.83 in), JIS B5 (7.17 in x 10.12 in), Legal (8.5 in x 14 in), Letter A Size (8.5 in x 11 in)
Supported Envelope Sizes International C5 (6.38 in x 9 in), International DL (4.33 in x 8.66 in), US No 10 (4.1 in x 9.5 in)
Standard Media Capacity 150 sheets
Output Trays Capacity 100 sheets
Header
Brand HP
Localization English, French, German, Italian, Spanish
Country Kits Europe
Packaged Quantity 1
Office Machine
Type printer / copier / scanner
Functions copier, printer, scanner
Monthly Duty Cycle (max) 20000 pages
Recommended Monthly Volume 250 - 2500 pages
Printing Technology laser
Printing Output Type monochrome
Office Machine Features HP Auto-On/Auto-Off Technology, Mopria certified
Interface Required
Connector Type 4 pin USB Type B, RJ-45
Type LAN, USB 2.0
Total Qty 1
Dimensions & Weight
Width 15 in
Depth 11.6 in
Height 11.3 in
Weight 19.36 lbs
Scanning
Optical Resolution 600 dpi
Interpolated Resolution 600 dpi
Color Depth 24 bit
Scan Element CIS
Dimensions & Weight (Shipping)
Width (Shipping) 18.9 in
Depth (Shipping) 15.4 in
Height (Shipping) 16.6 in
Weight (Shipping) 24.69 lbs
Consumables Included
Type drum
Color black
Included Qty 1
Coverage ISO/IEC 19752
Printing System
First Print Out Time B/W 8.5 sec
Document & Media Handling Details
Type input tray, output tray
Media Feeder Capacity 100 sheets, 150 sheets
Min Media Weight 60 g/m²
Max Media Weight 120 g/m²
Min Media Size 4.13 in x 5.85 in
Max Media Size A4 (8.25 in x 11.7 in)
Software
Operating System Support Android, Apple Mac OS X 10.10, Boss 3.0, Boss 5.0, Debian Linux 6.0.x, Debian Linux 7.x, Fedora 17, Fedora 18, Fedora 19, Fedora 20, Linux Mint 13, Linux Mint 14, Linux Mint 15, Linux Mint 16, Linux Mint 17, MS Windows 7 (32/64 bits), MS Windows Vista, MS Windows XP SP3, UNIX, Ubuntu Linux 10.04, Ubuntu Linux 11.10, Ubuntu Linux 12.04, Ubuntu Linux 12.10, Ubuntu Linux 13.04, Ubuntu Linux 13.10, Ubuntu Linux 14.04, Ubuntu Linux 14.10, Windows 10 (32/64-bits), Windows 8 (32/64-bits), Windows 8.1 (32/64-bits), Windows RT 8, Windows RT 8.1, iOS, openSUSE 12.2, openSUSE 12.3, openSUSE 13.1 (32/64-bit)
Software Included HP Connected, HP Device Experience (DXP), HP Device Toolbox, HP Printer Assistant, HP Scan Application, HP Software Installer/Uninstaller
Speed Details
Function copying, printing
Max Speed 14 ppm, 20 ppm
Size A4
Mode B/W
PC Connectivity
Connection Availability Yes
Interface LAN, USB 2.0, Wi-Fi(n)
AirPrint Enabled Yes
Security Protocols & Features Apple Bonjour, IPv6 support, SNMP 3
Service & Support
Type 1 year warranty
Service & Support Details
Type limited warranty
Service Included parts
Full Contract Period 1 year
Power Adapter
Voltage Required AC 230 V
Frequency Required 50 Hz
Power Consumption Operational 338 Watt
Power Consumption Standby 3.3 Watt
Power Consumption Sleep 0.95 Watt

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